Thursday, November 12, 2009

PAS says Muslims do not have the exclusive right of usage of the word 'Allah' - now only PKR's position is a question mark.

What is the PKR position on the 'Allah' issue?.

DAP and PAS have made their positions clear.

A perusal of reports indicate that there may be some differences, and as such, PAS may have to re-confirm its position. Or maybe, there is no need.

It is clear as Khalid Samad (and other PAS MPs ) told Parliament. Reading the Hansard, it is clear that it is the position of PAS. This is also what Nik Aziz was reported saying. [Go read the Hansard]

It was rather odd that '...PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat says the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims is allowed...', and then say that it was up to the Federal Government.  '...He, however, added that it was up to the Federal Government to define the scope in which the word could be used, reported Bernama...' [Star, 2/3/2009, Use of the word ‘Allah’ still not defined, says Nik Aziz].  

But, is not Islam a matter for the State - it is clearly under the State list in Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution, which states what comes within the ambit of State powers, and what comes under the Federal Government powers. Was it a case of mis-reporting?

One of the arguments is that some State enactments, even those of Pakatan Rakyat governed states still seem to say that only Muslims can use the word 'Allah'. Remember that State enactments like Federal laws can easily be amended, by simple majority I believe, and hence the failure of Pakatan governed states in doing the necessary is telling.

Why are they not amending? The simple answer is that it is 'political' - they do not want to lose the support of some of their Muslim supporters. And is that acceptable? I believe not. The failure to bring about changes for fear of loss of support is an indication of weakness on the part of the Pakatan Rakyat. I worry that it is this fear of taking clear positions on 'controversial' and/or 'sensitive' issues is one that may see the death of the hope and dream that we may one day be ruled by a better group of parties, other than the BN.

Remember also 'the people of the book' - i.e. Jews and Christians. Surely, the name of God did not change for Allah is the same God for Jews and Christians as well.
Muslims believe that God had previously revealed Himself to the earlier prophets of the Jews and Christians, such as Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.... Muslims believe that Islam is the perfection of the religion revealed first to Abraham (who is considered the first Muslim) and later to other prophets. Muslims believe that Jews and Christians have strayed from God's true faith but hold them in higher esteem than pagans and unbelievers. They call Jews and Christians the "People of the Book" and allow them to practice their own religions. Muslims believe that Muhammad is the "seal of the prophecy," by which they mean that he is the last in the series of prophets God sent to mankind.

I reproduce below some of reports I saw about this issue:-

KUALA LUMPUR, March 5 — The heated debate in Parliament today over the the usage of the word “Allah” showed a division within Pas as some of the Islamist party MPs explicitly supported the use of the word by non-Muslims.

During his winding-up speech for the motion of thanks to the King, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi reiterated the government’s stand that the word Allah cannot be used by non-Muslims, citing state enactments and gazetted decrees by Islamic authorities.

The matter was brought up by Sri Gading MP Datuk Mohamad Aziz who said that the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims was an attempt to insult Islam.

Kuala Selangor MP Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad of Pas later cited the Quran to show how the word “Allah” was used by the non-Muslims.

He was supported by another Pas lawmaker Shah Alam’s Khalid Samad, who argued that the word “Allah” is Arabic for God.

Zahid then asked the duo whether it was the official stand of the Islamist party, to which Khalid said it was the decision made by the party’s Islamic scholars’ wing.

Baling MP Taib Azamudin, however, disagreed with his party colleagues saying that he was more interested to defend the sanctity of Islam.

“It is illogical to argue based on the language point of view, others cannot use the word ‘Allah’,” said Taib.

In his reply, Zahid said Taib’s stand on the matter is consistent with the government’s.

“What was said by Baling is the stand of the government of Malaysia, it is the stand of Jakim (Islamic Development Department),” said the de facto Islamic Affairs minister.

The use of the word Allah by non-Muslims has been a contentious issue in Malaysia after the Catholic weekly, The Herald, challenged the government’s directive banning the publication from using the word “Allah”. - Malaysian Insider, 5/3/2009,Pas lawmakers divided over who is allowed to use the word “Allah”

SHAH ALAM : MP Shah Alam, YB Khalid Abdul Samad said the state is trying to form a government that’s clean, transparent, fair and to bring issues of the people to parliament to be debated.

He said he will issue a letter of support to the pengerusi of JKR in support of the Church of the Divine Mercy’s (CDM) road signage appeal request.

He added that beer drinking or scantily dressed ladies are not main issues. He cited corruption as a major issue. Leaders should be good models for society to follow. One of the main issues which the Selangor government wants to fulfill is a clean accountable administration. YB Khalid also touched on the state of civil servants saying money must be managed and administered properly. He expects civil servants to tell us if something is not done right and reported that in doing so they would be moving in the right direction.

YB Khalid said if the signage issue is struck off in JKR, they would need to change their old mind set.

Touching on the CDM cross issue, YB Khalid once again reiterated his support and said during his visit to Middle East he saw churches with a cross next to a mosque and it was not a problem or issue there. It all boils down to our mentality.

YB Khalid said PR have experience and knows the needs of the people (Rakyat) in the five PR states and hopes to have better understanding with the civil servants and military. We need to prepare and if we come to total victory at Federal level people will know our capability and can accept us.

A parishioner from East Malaysia who spoke in Bahasa Malaysia was happy that a procession was allowed for the feastday around the vicinity of the church but the ‘Allah’ issue is yet to be resolved. He said many Christians in Sabah and Sarawak are waiting for a response from the Federal Government through Tan Sri Bernard Dompok on this issue. He cannot understand the outcry as in East Malaysia ‘Allah’ has been used for several decades by Christians.

YB Khalid also spoke on apostasy saying no law can force a person to believe in something. For example even if someone who is born a Muslim and later believes in Buddhism, you can not do anything about it — even if the MYkad states the person as a Muslim. All this does is prevent people from declaring that they have left Islam but not preventing them from leaving the religion.

He also said he has debated in parliament on the ‘Allah’ issue as it is an Arabic word — a word common among Muslims and non-Muslims. Those who argue against those using the word ‘Allah’ are going to cause confusion with Muslims; if they truly understand Islam, they won’t be confused. He cited that the cause of the confusion is UMNO who want to use religion as a political tool to remain in power.

YB Khalid said PR needed both Muslim and non-Muslim support and said we need a holistic approach to change the education system, which has given rise to the present mentality.

The dialogue session ended at 11.15pm and Mary Magdaline, the moderator thanked the VIPs for their approachable demeanour. Parish priest Fr Paulino Miranda gave a token of appreciation to the guests at the end of the session. -
Herald, 30/10/2009, PAS MP Khalid Samad supports CDM’s bid for cross and signages

KOTA BHARU, March 1 – Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat, the Pas spiritual leader and one of the country’s most respected Muslim leaders, said today that non-Muslims should be allowed to use the word “Allah.”

But he said it was up to the federal government to decide whether to allow its use by non-Muslims.

“I do not want to interfere in this matter. Let the federal government decide,” he was quoted as saying by the national news agency Bernama in Kota Baru today.

The Pas leader was responding to the intense debate over the Catholic newspaper Herald’s law suit against the federal government’s decision to ban the use of the word “Allah” in its publication.

Yesterday, the Home Ministry rescinded a government gazette issued a day earlier which allowed the conditional use of the word in Christian publications.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said a mistake had been made and the government’s ban remained in force unless the courts decide otherwise.

The government had recently ordered a ban on the Herald's Malay edition until the court makes its decision, as part of conditions for it to be allowed to continue publishing in English, Chinese and Tamil.

Muslim groups have been up in arms over the Catholic newspaper’s use of the word “Allah” and were particularly upset when the ban was rescinded on Friday.

These Muslim groups have argued that allowing Christians to use the word “Allah” would cause confusion among Muslims.

They are also suspicious about the intent of Christians, with some accusing churches of trying to use the word “Allah” to convert Muslims.

However, the Catholic Church says the word “Allah” is being used by its members, especially those in Sabah and Sarawak, who are fluent only in the national language.

They also contend that “Allah” is the accurate translation for the word “God” as opposed to “Tuhan” which they use to mean “Lord.”

The church has also pointed to the fact that the word “Allah” is also used by Christians in the Middle East and in Indonesia. - Malaysian Insider, 1/3/2009,‘Allah’ is allowed for non-Muslims, says Nik Aziz

KOTA BARU: PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat says the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims is allowed.

He, however, added that it was up to the Federal Government to define the scope in which the word could be used, reported Bernama.

“I don’t want to interfere in this matter. Let the Federal Government decide,” he said in response to the weekly Catholic Herald’s use of the word “Allah” in its Bahasa Malaysia publication.

In Kota Kinabalu, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the Government’s decision to ban the use of the word “Allah” was not restricted to the Herald but applied to all non-Muslim publications.

On Saturday, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said a Feb 16 government gazette lifting a ban on Christian publications to use the word “Allah” would be rescinded.

He added there were mistakes made in the drafting of the gazette, which stated that Christian publications could use the word Allah provided the words “For Christians” were clearly printed on the cover.

Syed Hamid said the Government’s stand on the ban has not changed. - Star, 2/3/2009, Use of the word ‘Allah’ still not defined, says Nik Aziz

There is restrictions in Malaysia against proselytizing Muslims - i.e. converting Muslims, but that should not  be a justification to stop Christians or others from using the word 'Allah' or other Arabic words in their own worship and religious education among its own adherents, or in their proselytizing of persons other than Muslims.

PKR has been silent on this issue. Some in PAS has come out stating that it is a 'non-issue' and use of the word 'Allah' is not exclusive to Muslims. DAP is the only Pakatan Rakyat party that has really made a clear stance. See earlier post :- DAP has made clear its position on the 'Allah' issue...what about PKR, PAS and Pakatan Rakyat?

What is the position of MCA, GERAKAN, MIC, Makkal Sakthi party.... silence seems to be their response.

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